In this post I have one in a series of swimwear pattern hacks I’ve just added to my blog! I love using my lingerie patterns for all sorts of uses, and one of my favourite ways to hack them is to make swimwear. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to turn our Jordy Bralette Pattern into a classic string bikini top. And it all starts with the Inner and Outer cup pattern pieces.
Start by removing the seam allowances along the center seam.
Then connect the cups overlapping so they touch at the top, and at the center seam notch.
Trace around the cups, including the elastic allowances on the edges. At the top of the cup, straighten off 3/8″ spot to attach the strap and add a 1/4″ seam allowance. This is the point where you’ll attach the strap at the top of your cup.
Following the bottom seamline of your pattern pieces as a guide, complete the bottom edge of your cup with a gentle curve. The bottom of this cup will be gathered.
To allow space for a bikini string channel along the bottom of the cup, Add 1″ (2.5cm) of allowance for the channel, then an additional 1.25″ (3.1cm) for the turn under. Make sure to mark the inner edge and outer edge of your cup, since this pattern is not symmetrical.
Draw a line between your two bottom edges of your cup to mark the direction of stretch on your pattern, and then cut two cups out of your main swimwear fabric, and your swimwear lining fabric.
*Before you cut your swimwear fabric I recommend first cutting strips for your swimwear straps because it is easiest to cut them along the edge of your swimwear fabric before it is cut. You will need to make enough for the shoulder straps and around the body. I like to cut 2 strips (1.5″ / 3.8cm wide), from the full width of my fabric, which is usually about 60″/152cm in swimwear fabric. I use one to go around the body, and the second I cut in half and use half to use for the two shoulder straps. To make swimwear swimwear straps – follow my tutorial here.
I used 3/8″ swimwear elastic to make my straps for this bikini, and that is what I include in my Jordy String Bikini Kits.
Once you’ve cut your pieces from the main swimwear fabric and lining, I like to serge the lining and the outer fabric together along the bottom of the cups (you could also use a zig-zag stitch on your regular sewing machine).
Next sew one of your swimwear straps to the top of your cup with a 1/4″ seam allowance, centring the strap so the elastic allowance is on either side. These straps should be at least 20″/50cm long (see the note above on making your swimwear straps).
With wrong side facing up, sew your swimwear elastic to the edge of the cup using a zig-zag stitch (I’m using a 3/8″ swimwear elastic to go with the 3/8″ elastic allowance on the cup).
Flip your elastic in towards the cup and stitch down for a second pass, the elastic will overlap with the strap at the top, which is good, you can stitch over the strap to secure it down.
Next fold up the bottom of your cup by 1.25″ (3.1cm). I like to start by pinning the edges, to make sure that they are just a little inside the cup and won’t show from the front. Then follow along the bottom of the cup pinning the rest up. This will take a bit of easing – and ideally you could do this by running a line of gathering stitches along the top edge to evenly distribute the extra fullness- but it’s only on the inside of the cup, and I was feeling a little lazy so I just pinned some little tucks- you can do it my lazy way too if you like, you have my full permission.
Then using a straight stitch, stitch the channel- I like to follow close to the edge of the serge, backstitching at the start and end of your stitches.
Then you can thread your swimwear strap through the channel – and you have a classic string bikini!
As an optional addition- you can cut a small slit in the lining near the top of your cup to insert the removable foam bikini inserts for a little extra coverage if you prefer.
*these bikini inserts can be easily cut down into different shapes and sizes if they don’t fit your cups perfectly. Sometimes I like to round off the tops of mine.
This is one of those super-quick and easy sewing projects- perfect to make as a gift for a friend who likes bikinis too 🙂 It’s also a great scrap buster, and would be really cute colour blocked with different colour straps.
I made this bikini in our Lilac swimwear, and we’ve put together kits in our shop that includes all of the materials you need to make this bikini top along with enough materials to make matching bottoms of your choice 🙂